Saturday, May 9, 2009

May 9, 2009

Well, for the first time since I started this blog over a year ago, I don't quite feel like blogging tonight. There is too much going on and I'm feeling lazy.  However, I got a fair amount done today so the desire to share overwhelmed the desire to sit on my can and read a book.

Most of my gardening today either happened while I was playing tag in the sun with the kids.  You see, my wife wanted them out in the sun for 15 minutes to get their natural Vitamin D.  While I was out there, I couldn't help but be struck by the beauty of Owen's apple tree in bloom.


I've said it before but I sure hope this is a dwarf or semi-dwarf, because eventually it will shade out my prime extra growing space.  You can see the potato bins in the background.

Then, as we were heading out for errands, mostly to wrap up shopping for Mother's Day and visit the hospital where some good friends just had a baby (Welcome Joshua!), I stopped by the garden.  The temperature was pushing 70 in the shade in the garden area.  I've removed the bed thermometer and put it back up on top of the fireplace bricks under the eaves.  That way it's in shade and dry.  Anyway, I wanted to remove the plastic from my hoop covers so they didn't fry.  As it was, some of the broccoli looked a little toasty and some of the lettuce wilty.

What's worse is that for some reason, my Bloody Butcher tomato plant doesn't seem to be perking up after all that rain.

I sure hope I don't loose that bunch of tomatoes that was prime to grow before I transplanted them.

Anyway, before dinner I decided it was past time to plant my cantaloupe.  I got the seeds too late to get a crop to mature, but that doesn't mean I can wait forever to plant them this year.  So out I ran to position my final SWC.  This one's the 31 gallon kind and should fit three cantaloupe plants if I trellis them.  I knew I would place one half of the bin on a cedar tree stump, but the other end I didn't what I was going to do.  Thanfully there was a cool flat rock that was the perfect height to even out the SWC.  Here it is in it's final position.

Right after this I raced and dumped two bags of used potato bin Mel's Mix into the bin to fill it.  Unfortunately I don't have a shot of it because I was called in to dinner and didn't get back outside.

However, after the kids went to bed I pulled out of the fridge several packets of seeds to plant tomorrow morning.  I want to plant more carrots, spinach and radishes, though mostly I wanted to fill in the blanks on the peas.  I have no clue why I have such bad luck with peas and beans germinating in my garden.  It's wierd.  Maybe you're not supposed to soak them overnight?

Speaking of soaking, anyone know if I should soak the Minnesota Midget Cantaloupe seeds or not before planting?  I decided I would direct sow them since that's the safest method.  I have 5 seeds left from Judy and need 3 to grow so I can save seed for next year.  If only one matures, I have two spares, hehe.  Wish me luck.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mother's out there!

And enjoy your garden.


  1. That tomato plant is definitely looking sickly. Is it consistently looking that way or only during the heat of the day? Did you use some organic fertilizer when you planted it up? I ask these questions because what I am seeing could be a rather severe nutrient deficiency OR a disease like bacterium wilt. Heirlooms and open pollinated varieties are (unfortunately) generally more prone to certain common tomato diseases.

    At a minimum, I would suggest you mix two teaspoons of epsom salts in 2 quarts of water and give the tomatoes a drink from that. It won't hurt if that is not the issue - but if there is nutrient deficiency you will notice a rather quick (positive) reaction to the high available (soluble) magnesium and sulphur.

  2. Looks like you are having a busy weekend too! Sorry to hear about the tomato plant. Maybe it will perk up.

    Oh, I went to my sister's house yesterday and her husband built a lovely build-as-you-grow potato bin. I'm sure they found the plan by visiting your site after mine. He's in construction and they have a lot of scrap wood, so he is using recycled house siding for the walls. It looks great! :-) I'll have to do a few of these next year.

  3. Saturday morning we had frost south of Portland. Maybe you did too. In any case it's cold enough to depress your tomato plants.

  4. hey guy!

    Nice to see the blue SWCs. We trellised our tomatoes yesterday, very exciting.

    Some beans have thick hulls. maybe try giving them a couple swipes with sandpaper to score them, and make it easier for the seeds to germinate.

    Good luck!

  5. Btw, if, heaven forfend, your troubled tomato plants don't bounce back, I have a couple extra Lemon Boys and Juliets that you're welcome to take a try with. Turns out i have about six more healthy tomato plants than I originally allotted space for (I always assume high attrition, LOL. Did I tell you last year the cat ATE all my black cherry tomato seedlings? Gah!). I think i can find homes in the front garden for four of them, but I'll likely have a couple left in search of a home. You know how to find us. :)

  6. Well, for the first time since I started this blog over a year ago, I don’t quite feel like blogging tonight. There is too much going on and I’m feeling lazy.

    Watch out for burnout. Think how your grand children and great grandchildren will enjoy your journal. John

  7. Oh my goodness -- look at all the blooms on that apple tree! That is awesome.... and very beautiful. That will be alot of apples if all the blooms make it.

    Oh don't worry about not having cantaloupe seeds -- I still have tons that I saved from last year :-) I can definitely keep you in cantaloupe seeds LOL I can't wait to see how the Minnesota Midgets do in the SWC. I think it would be a perfect place to grow them. And, I think it does help to soak the cantaloupe seeds over night in water to make them germinate faster. Also, you can tell which seeds are good and which are not -- the ones that are still floating after a couple of hours in the water will not germinate. Just something I learned the other day when i was soaking mine.

    Your lettuce is looking so great. Mine, well, it's getting ready to bolt :-( but I have some more started inside that I'm going to transplant in the garden under a shade cloth. I'm really hoping that this will work so I can have some lettuce with those tomatoes I'm growing LOL

    I love John's comment -- he's so right.... this blog is like a journal. It would be cool one day for your grandchildren to read this....

  8. Not sure about your peas and green beans. I set out 106 peas in two areas in mid-April in the Central Illinois region. About 100 of them sprouted and are all doing very well. I chose to use the Dwarf Sugar Grey variety.

    Two weekends ago I planted 83 green beans next to the lettuce/broccoli/cauliflower and about 45 of them have germinated and sprouted (about 10 days).

    I didn't soak them in anything - just planted directly into the ground.

    Weather here has been 65 - 70 for about a week now with rain just about the right times.

  9. Hey, I just added you to my "must read" list.

    As far as that apple tree goes, my nursery recommends really severe pruning -- more than you want to -- in the winter for home orchards. They say to keep that tree no higher than you can reach; even semi-dwarf and dwarf can get bigger than you want. It kills me to prune, but I want to reach all my fruit trees easily. Good luck!

  10. breanne gearheartMay 16, 2009 at 4:21 PM

    Have you tried coating your bean and pea seeds with an innoculant? I've used different brands in the past and it supposedly helps the little legumes fix nitrogen.

  11. I pre-germinated my Sugar Snap Peas. I soaked them for a little while then rinsed and drained them 2 or 3 times a day, just like the salad sprouts I had in the jar next to them. The batch I put out last week sprouted roots a lot faster than the ones I started earlier. They still take a while to come up but at least I know they're viable this way. I haven't tried it with beans.